studentcoring_klmckeeI realize that most students and science professionals are extremely busy and hardly have time to learn videography.  For this reason, I have been developing a series of tutorials designed to aid the scientist who wants to incorporate video into their research or education activities but who hasn’t the resources to hire a film crew or media specialist. The tutorials I’ve listed below will allow anyone with a smartphone or an iPad to begin making reasonably good videos that can be used to advertise a new research project, to create supplementary information for a journal article, or to enhance a website. In most cases, an hour’s investment is all that is necessary to gain the basic knowledge needed to shoot and edit a short video with an iPad, for example.

Note that I’ve listed all tutorials that I’ve made since starting this website, including ones that have been updated to reflect new versions of hardware or software. So be sure to scan through to find the one that fits your version. I’ll be adding more tutorials in the future. If you have suggestions, please leave a comment on the relevant post or email me (go to Contact page).

iMovie 10.0 and up (version released in 2013)

iMovie Tutorial: Part 1

iMovie Tutorial: Part 2

iMovie Tutorial: Part 3

iMovie Tutorial: Part 4

iMovie Tutorial: Part 5

iMovie Tutorial: Part 6

iMovie ’11 (earlier version)

iMovie 11 Tutorial: Part 1imovie11_screenshot_klmckee

iMovie 11 Tutorial: Part 2

iMovie 11 Tutorial: Part 3

iMovie 11 Tutorial: Part 4

iMovie 11 Tutorial: Part 5

iMovie 11 Tutorial: Part 6

How to Upload Your Science Video to a Video-Sharing Site

iMovie for the iPad:

How to Make a Book Trailer with your iPad or iPhone

Create Science Videos with your iPad

Making Science Videos with your iPad Tutorial: Part 1screenshot_ipad_imovie_klmckee

Making Science Videos with your iPad Tutorial: Part 2

Making Science Videos with your iPad Tutorial: Part 3

Making Science Videos with your iPad Tutorial: Part 4

Making Science Videos with your iPad Tutorial: Part 5

Making Science Videos with your iPad Tutorial: Part 6

Making Science Videos with your iPad Tutorial: Part 7

Making Science Videos with your iPad Tutorial: Part 8

Avid Studio for the iPad

Tutorial: Avid Studio for the iPad (Part 1)

Tutorial: Avid Studio for the iPad (Part 2)


Photoshop Tutorial: How to Remove the Background from an Image (Part 1)

Photoshop Tutorial: How to Remove the Background from an Image (Part 2)

How to Create and Use an Electronic Whiteboard in Your Videos


How to Add Video to Your PowerPoint (2016) Talk

How to Make a Custom Thumbnail with PowerPoint

How to Make an Animation in PowerPoint: Part 1

How to Make an Animation in PowerPoint: Part 2

How to Record a PowerPoint Presentation with Screencapture Software

iPhone (and other Smartphones):

Basic Steps to Making a Science Video with a Smartphone

Filming with a Smartphone: 20 Basic Camera Shots

How to Edit an iPhone Video to Create an Eye-Catching Bulletin

How to Shoot Better Video with an iPhone

iMovie for iOS Tutorial Updated

iPhone Slow Motion Tutorial

How to Create a Time-Lapse Video with Your Smartphone

How to Create a Science Video with Your Smartphonescreenshot_iphone_klmckee

How to Make a Science Video with Videolicious and an iPhone

Using iPhone Panorama Images in Your Science Videos

New Gear for the Solo Science Videographer

GoPro Hero

360° Time Lapse with a GoPro Hero 4

How to Use QuickTime to Edit GoPro Videos

Using a GoPro Hero 3+ to Film Underwater

Field Testing a Quadcopter with GoPro Hero 3+ Camera

GoPro Hero 3+ Slow Motion Tutorial

Time Lapse Tutorial for GoPro Hero 3+


How to Use a Script While Looking at the Camera

How to Record a PowerPoint Presentation with Screenflow (updated)

How to Record a PowerPoint Presentation with Screencapture Software


How to Record a Movie with QuickTime

How to Use QuickTime to Edit GoPro Videos

Filming Accessories:

A Shutter Remote Controller for Your iPhone Camera

How to Improve the Audio of Your Videos Without Breaking the Bank


How to Avoid Wind Noise While Filming a Video

How to Conduct an Interview While Filming a Video

How to Create a Videographic

How to Make a Video about a Non-Visual Topic

12 Filming Mistakes to Avoid

How to Improve Your On-Camera Delivery in Science Videos

How to Add a Video to a Tweet

Try Tweeting a 30-second Video of Your Science

How to Create a Split Screen Effect with iMovie and Screenflow

How to Find Media at the Library of Congress for Your Video Project

Nine Ways to Tell a Science Story

7 Minutes of Terror (NASA) – How NOT to Bore Your Video Audience

How to Add Captions to Increase Your Audience Reach

How to Shoot Video and Avoid the Most Common Mistakes

How to Use the Connection Storymaker App

How to Create a Time-Lapse Video from Still Images

How to Insert a Watermark into Your Science Video

How to Make a Video Abstract for Your Next Journal Article

Rule of Thirdsscreenshot_ruleofthirds_klmckee

How to Create an Interactive Map of your Study Sites

How to Make your Science Video Memorable

How to Capture and Keep the Viewer’s Attention

How to Use Readability Statistics to Improve Your Science Video

Are Your Science Videos Understandable by a Diverse Audience?

Where Should I Publish My Science Video?

Script Writing for Video

Recent Posts

Use Video To Tell Interesting Stories About How Science Works

When I first began making videos in 2008 about my scientific research (published on the U.S. Geological Survey’s YouTube Channel), my objective was to more widely report the findings of my projects and to help advertise my journal articles. For example, the video “Chasing the Mud” was designed to explain how I and colleagues studied the effects of the historic 2011 Mississippi River flood and to summarize the results of our paper published in Nature Geoscience. When I was interviewed by a news agency about the paper, I provided the link to the video, which the journalist then embedded in the news article. The video, which has had almost 12,000 views, thus served to augment the academic article in a format that was more accessible to the general public.

However, beyond reporting the results of our study, that video also featured the unique wetlands we visited during our sampling surveys and showed how we used a helicopter to access remote study sites in the Mississippi River Delta Complex. In later videos, such as this one about a study conducted in mangrove forests in Belize, I often emphasized my experiences doing fieldwork and the methods required. In other words, these videos showed the viewer how science gets done and some of the interesting places where scientists work.

Since those early videos, I’ve tried to encourage colleagues to make videos highlighting interesting aspects of their work and to avoid boring the viewer with a lot of data. Another point is that you can make a video about your work even before the final results are in or before you publish the paper. For example, you can make a video about why your research is important to society, to describe your field of research, obstacles you’ve overcome, your unique research setting or methods, or to overturn stereotypes about scientists. All such videos can be done without research results and are likely to be more interesting to the average viewer.

A recent essay and video illustrate my point nicely. Adrian Smith, who studies ants, filmed himself being bitten. In the video (see below), he basically answered the question as to whether it would hurt to be bitten by a trap-jaw ant, which can shut its jaws “faster than almost any other recorded animal movement”. In the essay, Smith said that this experience changed his outlook on communicating science. He realized that, by mainly focusing on conveying the results of scientific endeavors, he had missed opportunities to tell more compelling stories about his experiences doing science. By emphasizing a fascinating observation or answering a question that viewers might have, it’s possible to reach a wider audience and interest them in your research topic. His video below shows an example of this approach.

You, too, can take advantage of this approach and make a video about an interesting or inspiring aspect of your scientific research. Below, I repeat a list of suggested topics to use as the focus of a brief video.

  • Share your joy about doing science.
  • Describe what you like most about being a scientist or your particular science discipline.
  • Talk about a challenge that you faced and how you overcame it.
  • Describe a failure and what you learned from it.
  • Show where you work (laboratory or field) and explain what you like about it.
  • Demonstrate your passion for your scientific topic and why you think it is important.
  • Describe how your curiosity led you to a discovery.
  • Talk about scientific integrity and how you strive to avoid bias.
  • Point out the challenge of finding sufficient funding to conduct your research.
  • Show how your research is helping a local community cope with a health or environmental issue.
  • Have citizens, resource managers, farmers, doctors, or other end users of science information describe the importance of your research to them.
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